Providing for surfers and the environment
A Cornish company is both providing for the surfer and protecting
the environment with help from Business Link Devon and Cornwall's
EVOKE programme which supports young high-growth businesses
that have the potential to become world class market leaders
in their field.
which operates from an energy efficient unit at Wheal Kitty,
St Agnes, was founded four years ago by Tom Kay who designed
and developed, with the help of fabric technologists, the
first technical fleece aimed at surfers when they get out
of the sea on an icy day.
Business Link's initial involvement with the fledgling
company was spearheaded by personal business adviser Clare
Whitney who sourced support for a marketing consultant, prepared
a business review and advised on finance, ICT and international
Through a Business Link mentor, who worked extensively on
the financial planning that put the business on a sound footing,
the EVOKE grant then provided high level strategic and financial
With web-based sales and e-commerce being its main routes
to market, EVOKE also helped the company to build a state-of-the-art
Customer Relationship Management system that is currently
being installed to support a marketing drive.
Finisterre, which held its first Surf Industry Symposium
in October, is the first European surf brand to join '1%
for the Planet', a global initiative whose members give
at least 1% of annual revenues to approved environmental organisations
- in Finisterre's case Surfers Against Sewage and the
Marine Conservation Society.
The company, which has grown to employ four, also this year
launched its own environmental initiative, 'Offset the
PLC' (Product Life Cycle).
"No longer do we have the luxury of remaining fence-sitters
as far as the destruction of our environment is concerned,"
explained Tom Kay. "As well as challenging
convention with our product, we are also now challenging traditional
business practice with this initiative which aims to encourage
more responsibility to be taken for the intangible environmental
footprint left by what we consume as consumers and what we
produce as businesses."
After analysing the life cycle of all Finisterre products,
the process identifies the three worst areas in terms of environmental
footprint. The company then gives researched environmental
groups a percentage of the product's retail price -
helping to offset the product's life cycle.
Tom Kay described EVOKE's support as "fantastic"
and added: "EVOKE encourages us to be very focused
in our thoughts and to concentrate on the main growth issues
for our future business direction. This is all against a background
of putting the environment first and drawing attention to
wider environmental issues in a market where we are in fierce
competition with high street, mass volume fashion brands that
do not cater specifically for the surfer."
Finisterre now has access to an array of other Business Link
services for the rapid advancement of its business and to
provide a foundation for its growth.
Its new catalogue features six R & D-led technical garments,
including base layers, mid-layers and shell jackets, and is
an inspirational and powerful piece of literature that explains
the ethos of pushing cold water frontiers for surfing and
also draws attention to the company's environmental
credentials and vision.
Finisterre carries out extensive research and development
in creating its garments that use the highest quality materials
and finishings available and can be realistically described
as being in the forefront of engineering. The firm works with
experts at one of the world's leading textile research
centres and the core function of each garment is relentlessly
scrutinised, tested and resolved. A big focus for the brand
is working with ground-breaking manufacturers of recycled
and recyclable fabrics.
EVOKE manager Richard Adams said: "This company
is just the sort of business that the programme is designed
to help as it offers a variety of advice, assistance and support
to entrepreneurs and inventors with big ideas that have the
potential to develop into cutting edge technologies and grow
their businesses into multi million pound operations and the
next generation of market leaders.
"It provides access to the highest quality private
sector expertise that will help get the new product or service
into the marketplace as quickly as possible and realise its
full business potential, and also links innovators with academic
institutions for support and joint working in areas such as
research, testing, endorsement and further development - a
vital key to ensure the future success of many of the ventures."
For further information contact Carolyn Daw of The Marketing
PR Company on 01566 771863 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested Business Link Devon and Cornwall
through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and
the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service
via an information gateway on the web www.bldc.co.uk
and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and
those considering starting a business. Additionally, it provides
impartial business advice and support through a network of
partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register
of independent business practitioners.
Business Link for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national
Business Link service to the region under contract from the
South West of England Regional Development Agency, which was
established by government in 1999 to promote the long-term
economic success of the region. It does this by working with
others to give people the skills they need, encourage enterprise,
improve infrastructure, help communities with regeneration
and promote the strengths of the region. Business Link has
received Objective One investment (European Regional Development
Fund and EAGGF) to help companies improve performance and
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439